I agree that Will very purposefully touches the glass to show Hannibal how close they could be and then removes that possibility by leaving. Also interesting is that there was no stage direction for this in the script, so perhaps this was an improvisation on Hugh Dancy’s part (and as we know, much of the course of Will and Hannibal’s relationship was motivated by the actors’ performances, as Fuller has pointed out).
I really like the idea that if we think of Hannibal as fanfiction, the metaphor of the glass takes on a different value because fanfic (esp. slash) often operates with non-normative ideas about gender and sexuality. And yes, the reasons for the glass and for Will touching the glass are diegetic, much like the later consummation-via-murder of their relationship is.
(reposting this as an actual reply!)
I love your observation of the glass and how it both recalls and does something different from Jenkins’s observation. One thing I find interesting here - in this specific scene - is that the glass seems to be serving a slightly different function, yet one that’s wholly wrapped up in the Jenkinsian (?word?) model. That is, Will himself is consciously distancing himself from Hannibal in this moment, as he tries to throughout (but patently cannot manage), and doing it by recalling an even more distancing moment which - in Will’s telling - is paradoxically intimate - keeping Hannibal close by pushing him away. Which, if it can be read that way, seems entirely congruent with a Hannibal-as-fan-fiction reading, inasmuch as the glass, as you say, is no longer a signifier of media/society keeping two men apart (from which fan fiction alternative readings are born), but rather an in-text signifier of playing with the emotional distance/closeness of the two men, in full recognition of their inextricably intimate relationship.
If that makes any sense? I’m writing off-the-cuff, but basically what I think I’m trying to say is where Jenkins’s glass stands in for every social/narrative constraint that keeps two men apart for reasons external to the text, here in Hannibal it seems to keep them apart for reasons that are entirely of the text, in such a way that the text - the narrative - itself is aware of the usual role played by the glass… as if the explicit play with intimacy/distance of the scene is effectively saying that the glass is obsolete in Hannibal? They’re already emotionally and canonically close/distant so that the Jenkinsian glass separates nothing but their bodies…?
I may be rambling. ;)
This one is hard for me to talk about, because I get so distracted by the beautiful vid. but I especially like your observation of how the show departs procedural altogether for something far more fairytale and narratively complex. The evolution of the show in that sense is very interesting to me; how it begins very clearly in a procedural mode - not just narratively, but visually as well. There’s always a preoccupation with images and beautiful cinematography abounds throughout, but it’s not really until season 2 that they start to revel in it a bit; and - as you say - by season three it’s a wholly sensual delight - the Photoshop thing I mentioned the other day is but one case in point, and it fits in with your earlier fan fiction thesis, in that it’s fan art as much as ‘good cinematography’…
This is such a great take on the Italy episodes of Hannibal (which I have just rewatched). The slide from controlled mastery to emotional excess hadn’t occurred to me before, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I can certainly see it. I mean, Hannibal lets Pazzi dangle out a window and allows Jack to get a good glimpse of him, which is rather different from his previous murder tableaus. Likewise, I’d say that Will becomes much more forward in his statements about Hannibal (telling Jack he wanted to run away with Hannibal, etc). There might not be much conventional plot in these episodes, but the emotional stakes are high. I also found it interesting that Fuller said this arc is closest to his ideal version of Hannibal.
I also really really love the vid! It perfectly shows how the visual excess mirrors the emotional excess in the Italy arc.
Oh I must do the Sherlock London stuff - I’m not a fan but it sounds like it would be really interesting in relation to some of this stuff. Thanks Lori :)
That sounds like so much fun!
And puts me in mind of Speedy’s in London (and the way they’ve interacted with the fandom, oftentimes with more enthusiasm than the show’s producers, a bit in the way Janice Poon does on her blog).
NIcely put, yes. And for me, the idea of a fairy tale also acts as a gloss on season 3, especially the Italian Job section. Things that I otherwise might question—like why did no one in the faculty ever Google Roman Fell? If the dude’s got notoriety, why didn’t anyone recognize that Hanni was not he?—can fly by the wayside in the flood of castles and longing and, as you say, a pitch-perfect HEA. If it’s fairytale, the logistics of the everyday don’t matter as much—which might be part of frustrated some of the more procedurely-inclined audiences.
So many interesting points made already. Personally, I really enjoyed the metatexulaity of this season. Maybe this is just how I like to perceive it, but it seemed like this was the most authentic expression of what Fuller wanted to do with his Lecter fanfic; having survived against the odds for two seasons on a major network and readying himself for highly likely cancellation. He abandons the generic procedural hook and moves it into more complex and heightened emotional territory (even though that would have seemed like an impossible task after season 2).
The idea of the fairytale I think is a really useful one, especially as employing such a framework helped to free viewers from the expectations of the narrative, especially as Fuller crosses solidly into the established canon for the first time in the series. The season is book ended by fairy tale tropes - the early scene in Antipasto where Lecter, in addressing Gideon, seemingly breaks the fourth wall and begins the even-more-mythic tale “Once upon a time…” Skip to the ending of The Wrath of the Lamb and the dragon is slayed and the romantic couple are reunited to live (and dine) happily ever after (maybe).
Cheers, Brian! You make an interesting point about Fuller: in essence, he’s using one of the oldest storytelling forms, the fairy tale, in order to “expand the possibilities” of American TV narrative. If we don’t get this series back, in some form, here’s hoping that someone picks up the raw materials of those possibilities and remakes them into something new. Something beautiful.